Tagged: learning about relationships

Compromise vs. Collaboration in a Relationship

What is the difference between compromise and collaboration in a relationship?  Is one better than the other?  Is there something we can do to make sure that we are not giving more than the other person in our relationship?

Thank you to Dr. Kyle Weir for sparking my interest on this subject.  The word compromise is heard over and over again when we are talking about couples learning how to cope with each other’s differences.  (I have also used it several times myself.)  It was a concept that not only made sense, but had something that it could be measured against: sacrifice.  But is sacrifice really something that we want to do in a relationship?  The dictionary definition states that each side is making a concession.  That sounds easy.  Except for when you have two people inside of a relationship that are unwilling to budge on a matter and just want the other side to give in.

Humans are passionate when it comes to opinions.  Two people working towards a life together are going to come across a lot of them.  Compromise is something that is needed, but it is also something that assumes one partner will give in.  Collaboration on the other hand is working together towards a common goal.  Collaboration supposes that you already have the same goal in mind.  In a relationship, you should have similar or same goals in mind.  These goals include: what the future looks like and what passions you both have as individuals that you can work together towards in the relationship. In this journey, one partner may make compromises for the other, and then when the time comes the positions need to flip-flop.  You should never be the only person to compromise in the relationship.  During these times of compromise you should be collaborating towards the goal.

For example: if you have been offered a new job, your partner may have to compromise to move with you to keep the relationship going.  However, you will both have to collaborate about what this means for the other partners’ job or schooling.  A compromise can not take place unless you have discussed what that looks like.

At the beginning of a relationship, a couple tends to be directed towards either compromise or collaboration.  Too much of one person giving in at the beginning of the relationship can be a red flag that collaboration will not be part of the relationship.  A collaborative person will be present to work towards the relationship and making sure it is successful and happy.  These are items that we can asses early on in a relationship to understand our partner’s and our own investment in the relationship.

A relationship build on compromise (even though we have to make them at times) will not last, but a relationship build on collaboration will be able to stand difficulties and trials.

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Quick Life Lessons to Happiness

We all have something we wish we could have changed.  You take chances and risks in life. You let go and you learn.  Open your heart and turn risks into knowledge. Life is filled with quick lessons.  Here are some key lessons to finding happiness.    

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  • Be willing to change and be open to growth.
  • Use sincerity in everything you do.
  • Decisions will have to be made, whether they are good or bad.  My best advice is that you stick to the decisions once you make them.
  • Date clumsily, but with conviction.   Learn what you want in a partner and don’t be willing to compromise your needs.  
  • Accept apologies and apologize.
  • Never let money become more important than green and cream paper.  Manage it and don’t let it manage you. 
  • Let your pride go immediately after it comes. 
  • Go to the movies by yourself at least once.  Learn how to be alone.  With a movie, with a book, with yourself.  It’s amazing what you learn when all the other chatter is gone. 
  • Learn something from a stranger. 
  • Don’t be afraid to wait.  Don’t be in a hurry to marry, have kids, go to college or do what everyone else is doing.  Do it your way and make it right. 
  • If you have a strong passion for something try making it your career. 
  • Be with your loved ones as much as you can.  And when they are gone, remember them as much as you can in the little things you do.  
  • Exercise. 
  • Observe people rather than judge them.  Leave categories for arbitrary things like plants and food, don’t reduce people to categories. 
  • Find something or someone that inspires you.  
  • Try to find the silver lining.  Venting and complaining are not known to help the psyche feel better.  Positive vocabulary leads to a positive attitude.
  • Be open-minded.  
  • You will not always win, you will rarely be the best.  Learn how to take this with grace. 
  • Don’t let other people’s bad moods or attitudes become yours. 
  • Be careful what you do in public social media forms.  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable showing your parents, your boss, or your future children.  
  • Live life with poise and passion and never give up on any of your dreams. 
  • Don’t place too much weight on epiphanies.  
  • Laugh as much as your can for as long as you can. 

What’s Love Got to Do With It

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Today is that day.  It’s the day that people exchange gifts, cards, flowers, candies, and cute and cuddly teddy bears.  Today is the day that third grade boy buys his first Valentine’s Day gift for his sweetheart.  He mulls over the aisles at the local Target looking for the perfect way to tell his first crush that he thinks she is special.  It is the day that he gets butterflies in his stomach, hoping that he makes the right decision.  It is the day that she waits for his call and lights up when she hears his voice on the other end.

It is also a day of cynics.  It is a day where the jaded remind us that we are crazy and they are single.  It is the day that eyes roll and people scoff.  But why?  I understand if you are displeased with the commercialization of the Holiday, but the same can be said for many Holidays today.  So why so much hate for VD?  I mean, it’s a day to celebrate Love.  The cynical and jaded make the single assumption that not having a romantic interest on this Day of Hearts makes it a painful reminder that we are single.  But what does being single have to do with it?  This day is about Love.  That love is also shared amongst family members and friends.  We share in love with our children and remind them that they are special.  When I was little my father used to get my sisters and I all chocolates.  Maybe my outlook on this adorable day is a direct product of the idea that it was about family and not romance.  Love has everything to do with it.

The history of Valentine’s Day has to do with a Christian Martyr that got into trouble for marrying couples.  That background is probably responsible for making Valentine’s Day associated with love and romance.  In a time when lovers couldn’t marry, they were fighting the ability to do so.  Appears we are always fighting against something.  So you cynical singles fight the good fight, only 16 more hours left to go.  As for the rest of us, smile, cuddle, and tell them you love them.

How to Prevent New Year’s Resolution Relapse

We are nearly two weeks into the New Year.  We have been faithful to our New Year’s resolutions for less than 4 percent of the whole year.  How are you feeling about your resolution?  Are you hyped up about the recent change?  Or are you bummed out? I watch as dieters mope across the work hallways and hang their heads as they crash from lack of sugar and crave salty chips.  We torture ourselves with high end goals but have a low end understanding of what it takes to keep them.

You probably have great intentions when it comes to persevering through this first month.  The truth is only 8 percent of us keep our resolutions.  What can you do to be a part of the winning few? I am eager to help you understand how to stay on track.

Lose the Victim:  If you feel like a victim in the race to your resolution, failing is right around the corner.  By victim, I mean the ideas and judgment that you have given your resolution; if the goal is good but your reactions to it are negative, it will be hard to keep.  I’ve overheard people dieting this week say that they are upset, hangry, and unhappy.  The self-talk, emotional responses, or judgments that we give to our goals can be defeating or encouraging, whatever we allow them to be.  If we can interpret and evaluate the situation with positive regard, we make it better.  Our mindset about our goal is important. Instead of negative statements and defeated talk, try positive reflection about the goal.

Check in with Yourself:  Know what goals you can reach and be honest with yourself.  Ask yourself, “What do I need to achieve this goal?”  Set realistic goals and challenge yourself to keep those goals by “awarding” yourself something at the end of that goal (such as a massage or an overnight trip you’ve been putting off).  An example: You resolve to work out more this New Year.  Your goal is 20 workouts a month.  Each month you reach that goal you get a massage.  We go to work to get money.  Money is the “prize”.  Work is the “goal”.

Balance: Life is about balance.  Too much or too little of anything is bad.  Make sure your resolution is a balance of ways you want to better yourself this year.

Temptation: Most New Year’s resolutions include something that is going to link to temptation.  So you have a list of foods that you can eat on that diet, but what is your plan for when tempting treats make their way into the office?  If you resolve to save money, what is your plan to resist your favorite purchases or to not spend as much time at the restaurant you love?  You need to have a plan in place to resist the temptations that are going to come along with that goal.

Remember, an important part of improving any part of our lives is an understanding of ourselves.  Don’t be discouraged if your resolution isn’t working the way you planned, just reevaluate it.  We get stoked on the social stimulation of the New Year’s resolution, but we can make improvements on ourselves at any time in our lives.

The Third Wheel – Being Single In a Coupled World

Tonight is Friday.  I am single.  So I have so many options.  So many options.  What about setting up an online profile so these Friday’s don’t seem so lonely?  I could jet out to the local bars to harness whatever small amount of luck I have left in me?  I could swipe a tinder app, or upload a boyfriend?  As I sit in my living room Frosty the Snowman by Beegie Adair Trio plays in the background.  My roommate makes dinner for her date, herself, and myself.  The Christmas tree is lit in the corner aligned with presents.  My roommate loves Christmas.  I could take her evening happiness away by being a bitter single.  I could scoff at every couple that passes me and snuggles with hot chocolate and hand holding.  However, as I sit here, I have decided to do none of that.  I have a heart of compassion and understanding that has taken years to cultivate.  The expectation is to be bitter after the reason for my recent break-up, but I refuse.  I refuse to be angry.  I also refuse to seek out filling the void through another relationship.  I was offered for one of the couples this evening to bring me a date, and I kindly declined.  It was time to take a break from the dating world.  I look at it like switching up your routine at the gym so your results can be better.  This year launched a long line of failed dating attempts.  It was time to go back to the drawing board.  It was time to figure out what new self-discoveries could yield a more stable and loyal relationship.  Like I always say, the common denominator in our failed relationships is us.  Through weeks of sadness and honesty I have gotten to this point.  Here I am single, not about to mingle.  I am excited to head out tonight to see the beautiful Balboa Christmas Boat Parade with two couples this evening.  I am happy to be a fifth wheel.

Being single in a coupled world seems hard.  It’s really all what you make it.  When did it become so complicated that we had to seek out the next partner before spending some honest time with ourselves cultivating self-love?  We should wait until we have an understanding of why the last relationship didn’t work out.  Being the fifth wheel has it perks.  No worry about that awkward end of the night kiss.  No obligations to meet or expectations that could go unmet.  Spending  time with yourself harnessing a new passion for life and a better understanding of love.  Spending time with your friends and family.  It’s really all what you make it.

Individual Music Notes and Collaborative Lack of Commitment

In fifth grade I had a crush on Daniel Johns.  The lead singer of Australian rock band Silverchair had just released Frogstomp which yielded the famous song Tomorrow.  A year later I fell in love with Stephan Jenkins.  Anyone who knew me in middle school knew that Third Eye Blind was a staple in my musical life.  I fell in love with every album that they created after the first.  As my music and dating life both expand, I  understand the arts of both music notes and commitment.

My taste in music developed much like our relationships do.   We check out different albums and listen to new tunes.  We learn what we can enjoy long-term as we go through dating.  It is by these experiences that we better understand ourselves and our relationship needs.  I learned along that way that what makes a great musician and what makes a great band are not created equal.  The musician is the single part in the collaborative effort of the band.  Much like a single person is a part of the collaborative effort in a relationship.  Successful bands that stay together for years work hard to foster the relationships of its members.  Bands break up and so do people. Bands succeed and so do relationships.

It is easy to be single.  When you are a solo musician you have no one whose chords or lines you have to be in sync with.  It takes less effort to be single than to be in an active healthy relationship. However, the rewards are said to have significant positive impacts on your health and your life.  A relationship where you whole-heartedly learn the different music style of your partner and they learn yours.  Where if you work together well enough those two different songs make much better music.  I am not assuming it doesn’t take work to be a solo musician, but my argument is that you learn much more about yourself in the context of collaborative  relationships with others.  You develop the craft to be a better self when you are among others.  Our culture is praising differences and independence; which leads to negative connotations when in a relationship.  Some classics are “ball and chain”, “tied down” or “locked in.”  It’s as if we forget that no one forced us into an exclusive relationship in the first place, but hey, we have to fight something or someone to regain control.

There is a mentality of individuality in our culture.  There is a collaborative lack of commitment.  I recall hearing a friend say this about not including her boyfriend in a recent decision, “It’s my body and I’ll get a tattoo if I want.”  I thought to myself for a second.  That is like the band that set up the play list and one member just decides that they want to begin with another song.  Why are we so afraid to make collaborative decisions?  You don’t loose your individuality by respecting the opinion of your partner.  However, we seem to have become a society that believes the opposite.

Are we purposely becoming a society where individualism trumps hard work and collaboration? It is time we didn’t distinguish between the two.  Relationships are complicated.  They might be complicated because of the different ways people communicate.  Maybe they are difficult because of differences in personality.  But the most predominant reason that relationships are hard is because human behavior is difficult to understand.  We have a ridiculous sense of having to be right and in control instead of understanding the work relationships take and humbly accepting that we can’t always be in control; that we must consider our partners opinion and needs.

Why Texting is Making You Boring and Draining Your Relationship Happiness

How many hours have you gone without texting your significant other?  I assume that most of us will answer something less than 2 hours to this question.  Most of us will never answer anything over 12 hours unless we are working, sleeping or lost our cell phone in the debauchery of our weekend shenanigans.   For the purposes of this article- sleeping and working do not count for giving you high fives on being away from your smart phone.

How many minutes or hours do you go without texting your significant other or a friend back?  Or how many times have you taken awhile to respond to someone and minutes later they send you a ?

How many of us have our phones by our sides when we sleep and eat?  How many of us get anxious at the thought of leaving the phone at home for a whole day?  The answer to these questions: Most of us.  When did we become a society that had to respond immediately or had to be told not to text and drive.  I recognize that we are a society of now and fast, but when it comes to our relationships the notion of right away is destroying the wonders that make relationships special in the first place.

Recall being in high school and waiting for your crush to call.  Your mom or dad would answer the phone and yell into the other room, “It’s for you!”  You would get really excited, your face would get red, your heart would beat and your ridiculous smile would make your cheeks hurt.  You would drag the phone cord as far as you could to get a little privacy.  After a conversation in which minutes felt like hours you would say goodbye.  After getting off the phone you would sit, smile and dream.  You would repeat this for years, but then something happen.  That same boy or girl you were interested in didn’t call, they sent you a text.  Something along the lines of Hi;)  It was enjoyable in the beginning but still not as exciting as getting a call and hanging up.  You didn’t know that someone was into you instantly by way of emoticon.  The excitement lingered for weeks and months not hours or days.     

You see, we never hang up with text messaging, it is this ongoing conversation that literally never has an ending.  When you are in a relationship you never get the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” because you are all up in each others messaging all the time.  Or if you are dating and one party decides to make it have an ending (i.e not texting back) we get confused and wonder if we did something wrong.  Maybe he thought I was mad.  Maybe she doesn’t think I’m funny.  Maybe he doesn’t want me anymore.  We make all these guesses because we actually have no idea how anyone honestly feels anymore because you can only try to interpret through messaging.  The bottom line is our cell phones are ruining our relationship satisfaction because there is no excitement in it anymore.  All the maybe thoughts or the anxiety that you have should only lead to one thought, I am too available which is boring. This isn’t people wanting what they can’t have, this is a genuine human response to want excitement and wonder.

Your boyfriend, girlfriend, or dating partner has access to you anytime- all the time.  But it goes both ways.  We can not have the expectation that people have to get back to us this second.  That people have to text us no matter what they are doing.  Maybe someone is busy.  Or maybe they just don’t want to talk to you right now.  And honestly, why is that second one not okay?  Am I really obligated to talk to everyone who texts me every second that they do it?  There are times when I don’t feel like it.  If we were all honest, we would understand that we all feel like that at some point.  Maybe they had a long day.  Maybe they don’t like you. Maybe they don’t have their phone on them. Maybe they are in a meeting.  Whatever the reason is, if you want to get to the point of someone sticking around and being in awe of you- you have to be a little mysterious.  You have to stop being boring and available.  You also have to remind yourself that even if the other person is going to be offended by not hearing back from you right away, that is on them, not you.  It speaks volumes of the assumptions that they will make throughout the relationship.

I honestly hear this time and time again, “He hasn’t texted me back.”  I then ask, “Well how long has it been?”  Reply, “Well ten minutes.”  My response is always the same.  It has only been ten minutes.  I am not sure what the etiquette is for response time in texting, but there needs to not even be a window.  Whoever the person is, they will see the text, and they will respond to it when they damn well please.  In the end, the person texts back if they want to continue to engage with you. If this is someone who you are starting to date and they don’t text back- that’s called rejection.  I get it and I am not afraid to admit that it has happened to me many times.  Brush it off and move on.  The point is, we need to remind ourselves to talk instead of text.  To be patient instead of anxious.  We need to put the excitement back into our dating lives and relationships by giving someone something to miss and by us missing them.